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Rory McIlroy made seven-year-old Michael Horgan's wish come true at the Horizon Irish Open as the youngster got to meet his golfing hero during a practice round at The K Club.
Young Michael, who is bravely living with a brain tumour, was invited to the Irish Open along with his family by Make-A-Wish Ireland.
Michael's big wish was to receive a personalised video message from McIlroy, one of his sporting heroes, but instead he got to meet the four-time Major champion and even enjoy a buggy ride with him as he played his final hole.
McIlroy also gave Michael the chance to hit a putt on the green while chatting to him about his love for golf in what was a wonderful surprise for the Dublin youngster.
Conor, Michael’s dad, said of the wish: "Taking him out on the course with Rory was inspiring and added so much to the occasion, not just meeting him but being able to play with him is a thrill he'll never forget."
Michael also met former Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington, who is a Make-A-Wish ambassador and is wearing the charity's logo at the Irish Open this week.
Michael’s wish was to get a video message from his hero @McIlroyRory. Rory had other ideas…#HorizonIrishOpen | @MakeAWish_ie pic.twitter.com/QJs6MdfzAnSeptember 8, 2023
"I'm thrilled to wear Make-A-Wish Ireland's logo on my sleeve during the Horizon Irish Open.
"This event is not just about golf; it's about making dreams come true for children who truly deserve it."
Irish Open sponsors Horizon Therapeutics have targeted a fundraising total of €250,000 as they partner up with Make-A-Wish Ireland - a charity aimed at making a significant impact on children's lives.
Horizon president Tim Walbert said: "We knew on day one of our partnership with the Horizon Irish Open that we wanted this platform to be a meaningful vehicle for giving back to the community and we are proud to have Make-A-Wish Ireland as our charity partner.
"Seeing the impact that the experience has had on Michael and his family really underlines the importance of the work that Make-A-Wish does.”
There's a fundraising event on Saturday for the third round of the Irish Open as Horizon will donate €1 for every person who wears green at The K Club.
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Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website. Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.
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